Perspectives: STEAM Education
Building Bots and Confidence
From: The New York Times, February 22, 2019
BALTIMORE — On a blustery winter afternoon in a school gym that had seen better days, Shemar Watkins, 11, and three friends huddled over a pile of Legos, learning how to fail. The lesson wasn’t going well. … Early versions of their bot would probably fail on the battlefield, sending them back to the drawing board. Indeed, the Gravediggers’ first creation — heavily fortified but barely tested — was in pieces after a couple of bouts.
“They did you a favor!” Aron Lee, the class instructor, boomed from half court, shouting amid the din of 10- and 11-year-olds scrambling for Lego bricks, fixing defeated bots and trash-talking one another. “They showed you where your weak spots are!”
Then, a reminder. “Failure is your fuel,” he told the Gravediggers and anyone else within earshot. “But remember — you have to fail fast.”
That in a nutshell was the objective of the weekly lab that Mr. Lee and his company, Deilab (pronounced DAY-lab), conducts at Eutaw-Marshburn, which is near a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood northeast of downtown. While the activities are hands-on lessons in science, technology, engineering, art and math, or STEAM, Mr. Lee says the children are also learning about resilience: the willingness to overcome adversity and try, try again…
STEAM: Using the Arts to Train Well-Rounded and Creative Scientists
From: The Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education, October 2018
While the demand for a strong STEM workforce is growing and is recognized by academic, non-profit, and government institutions alike, there are challenges that threaten our ability to recruit, train, and retain such a workforce in ways that are effective and sustainable and foster innovation.
Educator-scientists are meeting some of these challenges by infusing creativity — by means of the arts — into the education and training of future scientists. … When we think of integrating arts and science, the most obvious art form that comes to mind is the visual arts. After all, most scientists have had to generate diagrams to communicate their science effectively. At the same time, performance arts such as dance and theater also lend themselves to integration into science education and training.
In this Perspectives article, we review the use of visual and performance arts in science education and their benefits in both K–12 and post-secondary education. We also discuss STEAM programs in science outreach and the development of professional scientists. …